Thank you to (role-model) bloggers, Amy Burkert of Take Paws (Go Pet Friendly.com blog), and Edie Jarolim of Will My Dog Hate Me?, for once again hosting this beloved event.
When I first arrived here, three years ago -- on this exact Blogger blog, only with the "blogspot" still hogging up my URL, and a blog design with distinctly less TV in it -- I couldn't fathom any direction for The Chronicles of Cardigan, beyond showing off photos of my dogs to a group of fellow dog lovers who'd appreciate them. It was just plain old fun.
|[pretend Jon Farleigh is me.] |
I love my blog! Yay, blog!
Before long, though, I realized there was just as much (maybe more) fun in putting words together on the page than just putting up the photos, so I wrote every day, wringing my brain free of more droplets of creativity than it had given up in decades. And, I got burnt out.
|[pretend stuffed corgi is this blog.] |
JF: You've changed, blog, and I don't think I like you anymore.
|Blog, you are a polyester-headed sourpatch monster! Go sit in time-out!|
And, burn out led to ambivalence, which led to struggles with whether or not to monetize, which led to resentment over being "obligated" to do something with this space that could, eventually, take all the fun out of it. So (after some serious soul-searching), I stepped way back. Decided to lose the guilt for not posting, and gave my poor, overwhelmed brain a rest...
|My brain is eating cookies in bed, and not taking a nap.|
Last year's Blogger Challenge (for context)...
On 2012, Blogging and Elephants in the Room
On 2012, Blogging and Elephants in the Room
This year's questions and answers...
1. How long have you been blogging? Please tell us why you started blogging, and, for anyone stopping by for the first time, give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
Three years. The reason I started the blog is up there, in the 3rd paragraph from the top. Here's the blog description from my About page: This blog is a
disheveled stack of nonsensehumorous and (sometimes) unconventional chronicle of my life with Jon Farleigh and Dewi (my two lively Cardigan Welsh Corgis), three (okay, SIX!) rescue cats, a husband and some kids. But really, it's mostly about the dogs. (In fewer words, THERE'S A PARTY GOIN' ON IN HERE, ALL THE TIME!) :)
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.
I had LOTS of fun! (That was my only goal for 2013.)3. When you look at the post you wrote for last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge, or just think back over the past year, what about blogging has changed the most for you?
I've managed to banish the guilt...for not posting enough, for not participating in enough blogger stuff, for not sounding like someone I'm not. I've also reestablished a posting rhythm, and have gone from publishing only once, to three times a week. And finally, after three years, I got paid* to write!4. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
Twitter (which encompasses Triberr.com shares) and Facebook, in that order.
|Oh, yeah, there you go. Stupid brain cookies tasted terrible anyway.|
5. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?
I only share post links (on Facebook, G+, Twitter and sometimes, Pinterest) when I've recently published one. However, I'm active daily on several social media platforms, where my blog URL is visible. I spend at least one hour a day just showing up in different places. This year, I intend to increase my presence substantially on Twitter and (hopefully) G+ (specifically hangouts).6. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience? How do you know when it’s time to let go of a feature or theme that you’ve been writing about for a while?
They leave a comment? They share it? They don't call me bad names? :) As for the second question, I leave it when I'm no longer inspired to keep writing about it. (Boring does not equal fun.)7. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
It's usually because I feel compelled to, which -- as with anything I say out loud (being more of a listener) -- happens when I'm passionate about the subject, and think I have something of value to add. Please note that feeling "passionately" about something, sometimes, equals having a burning desire to be a smart@ss. But I try to limit those comments to bloggers who already know what a harmless buffoon I am. :)
|Pardon me, cat, would you get me some Grey Poupon and a can of sardines?|
8. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways? If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?
Yes, I will do reviews, when I've found something that's really awesome, and feel like sharing it with my readers. That being said, most of my reviews are unsolicited (meaning no one asked me to review it; I just did it). I will also do paid reviews (for brands who ask me to), but considering what I just said, I wouldn't even do a paid review unless I was certain I could give a sparking one. As for giveaways, they're fun, especially when I can afford to give away a gift card, or something whimsical that I'd buy for myself. I will consider sponsored giveaways only if I truly love the product, wouldn't think twice about buying it myself, and (hugely important) it fits in with my blog theme and writing style.9. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
For something less chronic than full-on burnout (which I've had, and I talked about last year), I just take a deep breath and post a classic (ahem re-run). (Yay, re-runs!) If I get so tired that I can't even post a re-run, I'm not sure a "recharge" will be what the doctor orders. At least not in the context of this question.
|OK, I'm feelin' groovy again. But, if blog wants to play with me, |
some big changes are gonna have to happen.
10. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go? Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?
Not an extended break, but I cut back to posting once a week for the first two-thirds of 2013, and...it was glorious! And refreshing! :) And, yes, I've thought about quitting (don't we all?), but I can't. I don't want to quit it. It's just plain old fun.11. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
Well? I think I'd like to branch out into doing recipes and cooking demos...NOT! (Reminder: I'm a harmless buffoon.) Gosh, I don't like this question! OK, other than continue to have fun, I'm gonna make more money with it (doing exactly the same stuff I've been doing already, just less sporadically). And, I promise you, it'll still be the same happy place it always has been! So, see you next week, OK?! :))
|[pretend Lulabelle is me.] |
Hey, blog. Long time no talk. Guess what? I always knew you were a cat person, so I made a few changes. I think this is gonna work out just fine, don't you?
Thanks for reading!
* My first paid writing job was through the BlogPaws Pet Blogger Network.
Have you seen all these other awesome posts?